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Protecting Workers at Nuclear Generating Facilities

  • Issued: November 2011
  • Content last reviewed: November 2011

Canada and Ontario are working together to protect workers at Ontario’s Bruce, Darlington and Pickering nuclear generating facilities.

On July 12, 2011, the federal government’s Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for co-operating on a range of enforcement issues.

Background

Canada and Ontario share responsibility for regulating workplace health and safety at Ontario’s three nuclear generating facilities.

  1. The federal Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) and its regulations include provisions relating to:
    • protection of people (including the public and workers) from risks associated with nuclear energy and nuclear substances
    • protection of the environment from risks associated with nuclear energy and nuclear substances.
  2. Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations govern:
    • employers’ duties (e.g., the general duty to take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances), and
    • a worker’s general right to refuse unsafe work.

Jurisdiction

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission administers and enforces the NSCA and regulates all nuclear activities at Ontario’s nuclear generating facilities, including their licensing and radiation protection programs. It reports to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources Canada.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour enforces the OHSA, dealing with all health and safety matters at provincially regulated workplaces, including the Bruce, Darlington and Pickering nuclear generating facilities. It investigates work refusals, worker complaints and incidents, including hazards involving falls, personal protective equipment and ergonomics.

In addition, the ministry is solely responsible for enforcing and investigating all radiation matters involving X-rays under Ontario’s Regulation Respecting X-Ray Safety.

Shared Role

MOL will work closely and cooperatively with the CNSC when investigating health and safety matters involving possible worker exposure to nuclear radiation.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

The MOU formally establishes the co-operative working relationship of the ministry and CNSC at Bruce, Darlington and Pickering nuclear generating facilities.

Canada and Ontario will:

  • Support each other in fulfilling their respective mandates
  • Offer each other training on their respective legislation and regulations
  • Co-ordinate enforcement activities, including joint workplace inspections
  • Conduct joint planning and consultation on policies and programs
  • Facilitate entry into workplaces under joint jurisdiction
  • Share information, health and safety data and technical expertise where authorized
  • Notify each other of incidents that may affect their respective legislative responsibilities and mandates.

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